Event Abstract

Evolutionary foundations of sensory neuroethology

  • 1 Univ Maryland, Biology, United States

Understanding variation in neural systems requires an evolutionary framework. To highlight the role of this framework, I will use studies of the vertebrate auditory system, where the fossil record shows that tympanic ears evolved independently in mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. New tympanic ears would have conveyed sensitive responses to the brainstem auditory neurons, leading to the parallel evolution of the central targets of the auditory nerve. Further developments in ancestral mammals, such as moveable ears and multiple ossicles, should have had additional reorganizing effects. We focus on sound localization circuits, because localization is fairly well understood and universal. Furthermore, examination of these circuits in the different land vertebrate clades has revealed a suite of apparently convergent physiological and morphological features that contribute to temporal coding and localization. The appearance of these features in the different clades identifies the broader organizational principles of temporal coding circuits. These principles are hard to miss. More current questions focus on how evolutionary models may be tested to reveal mechanisms underlying the emergence of similar circuits and algorithms in different clades.

Keywords: audition, evolution

Conference: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology, College Park. Maryland USA, United States, 5 Aug - 10 Aug, 2012.

Presentation Type: Invited Symposium (only for people who have been invited to a particular symposium)

Topic: Evolution

Citation: Carr CE (2012). Evolutionary foundations of sensory neuroethology. Conference Abstract: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnbeh.2012.27.00037

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Received: 29 Apr 2012; Published Online: 07 Jul 2012.

* Correspondence: Prof. Catherine E Carr, Univ Maryland, Biology, College Park, MD, 20742-4415, United States, cecarr@umd.edu